Does this statement by Dinesh D’Souza make sense to you?

I have a great regard for Dinesh D’Souza. I regularly play his debate with Christopher Hitchens for my ethics class.

Recently selected as the new President of King’s College in NY, most of us evangelicals were surprised because our impression was that Dinesh was a faithful and practicing Roman Catholic. Here is a portion of his response to the inquiry about how a RC can lead an evangelical institution.

“I do not describe myself as Catholic today. But I don’t want to renounce it either because it’s an important part of my background. I’m an American citizen, but I wouldn’t reject the Indian label because it’s part of my heritage,” D’Souza said. “I say I have a Catholic origin or background. I say I’m a nondenominational Christian, and I’m comfortable with born-again.”

Say that again! There is so much confusing about this statement that one would think it is being made by a new convert, not a sophisticated thinker and academic. “Comfortable with born-again”? I don’t even know what that means. Of course, I don’t want someone to lead an evangelical group who is comfortable with being born again. I would want someone who glories in it, loves it, finds sweetness in it, cherishes it and himself gives testimony to being born again.

And, of course, no one is really a nondenominational Christian. It feels good to say the word, but it doesn’t protect the one who says it from having to interpret the bible and decide on issues like infant baptism vs. believers baptism, synergism vs monergism, congregationalism vs. episcopalianism, sacramentalism vs. memorialism, etc. All churches decide these issues whether or not they use the word nondenominational. D’Souza is ducking for cover and it does not bode well for his leadership of King’s College.

But at the same time, it is not easy finding an evangelical leader to lead an evangelical institution who is himself or herself throughly evangelical. Maybe that is why it is easier to find someone who has RC roots. Generally they will be more consistently conservative and find no problem with taking positions on the many things that scandalize evangelicals – abortion, same sex marriage, stem cell research, the supernatural nature of the bible, the rootedness of free market capitalism in the Bible and the limited role of the state, etc.

I miss D James Kennedy

Opinions about D James Kennedy are never mild. But some things are clear. One, he was clear. Unlike Brian MacLaren and company, Kennedy did not find comfort in holding contradictory positions at the same time. For him this was not the mark of intelligence.

Two, his patriotism was a sophisticated patriotism. Not a fundamentalist, he yet took positions that could make a conservative feel warm all over. When Kennedy was speaking there was the wise use of words, the sense of drama and a clear call to the new birth through Christ. He was never far from the crucified Christ.

Three, his insights into significant Christian figures in the founding of this country continue to stand against the secularist attempt to make men like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln their own. His two sermons on Lincoln and Washington I continue to view for my own inspiration, particularly the one on Washington.

Four, he was a capable Bible teacher. Though he was increasingly known as a significant figure in the culture wars, at root he was a Bible teacher and apologist. His TV productions on the bible and on Jesus continue to stand as first class representations of the true evangelical faith.

Fifth, he was an evangelist. Evangelism Explosion has been one of the premier evangelistic training programs in the US. I have been trained in EE and became a trainer in EE. Such a style of evangelism is not popular today, but it will come back when evangelicals finally figure out that the transformation of society is not rooted in congress, parliament, social structures or any number of faddish justice issues. Kennedy’s essential theme was “transforming America one heart at a time.” Regeneration of the sinner is the root of the new world Jesus is bringing to pass.

I am not pleased by the way the new pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church continues to hype in the midst of all the the criticism being leveled at him how he is rescuing that church from its latter day decline under Kennedy’s pastorate. It might be so, but such things should be whispered. The man’s influence was otherwise so great and so good.

I feel about it as King David did when he was told of Saul’s and Jonathan’s death on the field of battle. “Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised exult.” (2 Sam 1:20)

Intelligent evangelical voices for a conservative worldview are fading. Men like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels cannot be depended upon in the clutch. You get the impression that taking moral positions is not something they are comfortable with. The trumpet they blow has an uncertain sound. They inspire and edify but I have the sense that risk taking in committing to moral positions is not their bag. Strange for pastors. But it’s a different day.

A cool way to learn Latin

Here it is. Visual Latin.  Go to a free video lesson here.

You would have thought along the way I would have taken Latin. It is the language of the church for its first 1500 years. And many of its books remain untranslated in Latin.

Perhaps one of the reasons behind the precision of theological argumentation from those days is that the church was communicating with itself in only one language. The complexities introduced by multiple languages didn’t slow down the theological project. A word in latin in the 4th century AD meant the same thing as a word in latin in the 8th century AD.

Of course, knowing Latin will enable me to really read Hodge’s Systematic Theology as he spins off into long passages of Latin, assuming that I as a theological student will be able to read it. Not!!!!

So I am thinking of getting this curriculum. It appears to be for the younger student, but as I get older they tell me my childhood will return. So maybe it will be just right.

26 ways in which doing IT Support is better than being a pastor

Thanks to Pyromaniacs

  1. People come to you for help — instead of assuming that, if you really knew your job, you would intuitively know they needed help, and come to them without being asked.
  2. Everyone immediately tells you, to the best of his ability, what his or her actual issue is.
  3. Everyone who asks you a question really wants to hear the answer.
  4. Everyone who asks you for help really wants to he helped.
  5. Everyone who calls you really does want his/her computer to work the very best it can.
  6. You and your callers agree that computer bugs and problems are bad, and should be done away with.
  7. When you identify viruses, spyware, unwanted popups, and crashes as “bad,” and target them for elimination, the folks you help don’t accuse you of being harsh and judgmental.
  8. Nobody who calls you is actually in love with the computer problems and misbehaviors they’re experiencing.
  9. When you identify a computer malady you want to eradicate, nobody can wave a book or point to a Big Name who argues that it is actually the latest, greatest “thing” in computers, and should be earnestly sought after, cherished, cultivated, and spread abroad.
  10. Nobody who calls you for help thinks that he’s hearing a little voice in his heart telling him that what you’re saying is just so much smelly cheese.
  11. Everyone to whom you give sensible counsel will hear, heed, remember, and follow that counsel — they won’t insist on “feeling an inner peace” before doing it.
  12. Everyone thinks you do crucial, important, and respectable work; nobody assumes that it is because you can’t get a “real job.”
  13. Everyone assumes you’re well-trained, know what you’re doing, and know at least some things they do not already know.
  14. While you are expected to be knowledgeable and competent at what you do, you are not expected to be perfect.
  15. Most times, you know immediately when you’ve helped someone; you don’t have to wait six months, six years, or six decades, to see whether your fix has “taken” or not.
  16. On the worst day, if you do even a half-decent job, you can go home knowing for certain that you’ve really helped 5, 10, 15, 20 or more people.
  17. If you don’t know the answer, it’s probably on Google. Somewhere.
  18. When you discover a new, better, more effective way to accomplish the goals you share with the folks you help, they’re happy — not angry at you because it’s different from “the way we’ve always done it.”
  19. The people you help don’t care how you’re dressed.
  20. The people you help don’t care how many committees your wife does or doesn’t head up.
  21. The people you help don’t hold your children to standards their children couldn’t even spell.
  22. The people you help don’t periodically form secret committees and whisper-campaigns to get you ousted.
  23. The people you help don’t all assume they know how to do your job better than you do, while actually knowing next to nothing about it.
  24. Everyone is fairly clear on what your job actually is: fix their computer so they can get back to work, or work better.
  25. The people you help evaluate you by whether you do or do not do your actual and well-defined job effectively — not by how you “make” them “feel.”
  26. The people you help aren’t judging you as inferior to a beloved support technician who died ten (or a hundred) years ago.

The ministerial collar

As much as I try to ignore it, I am a baptist with an anti-clerical bias. There is something about the words reverend, the right reverend, your holiness, etc. that send chills up my spine. And my reaction to the clerical collar surprises even me. Everything in me screams “move away.” (Charles Spurgeon called ordination “the laying of idle hands on empty heads”).

I know what the collar is supposed to mean, but what it actually communicates is something else. It looks effeminate and pastors aren’t exactly known for being fully male anyway. When you add the clerical ring, a cross hung around the neck and a lavender shirt, my brain just scrambles and short circuits. I am incredibly uncomfortable. It makes me want to arm wrestle the guy wearing all that stuff.

Yep, after four years of college and four years of graduate work and 15 years of college teaching, I am still a redneck.

Being a baptist – how I love it!!!!